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Orange County To Open A New Center For Mental Health And Substance Abuse Treatment

An illustration depicts two faceless people with blue hair, yellow shirts, and beige pants are waving at each other from opposite diagonal sides of a tall, red flower with green leaves.
With new state funding, Orange County is opening a second branch of Be Well OC, a center to help with mental health and substance abuse.
(Daniel Barreto via Unsplash)
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Orange County is planning to open a new wellness center to treat mental health and substance abuse issues with newly allocated state funding to support mental health initiatives, county officials announced on Friday.

The county is receiving $7 million from the state for the initiatives. The bulk of that money — $5 million — will help create the second "Be Well OC" center in Irvine. The new location, like the original campus in Orange, will provide treatment for mental health and addiction. Those services are available for residents, regardless of their ability to pay.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes says the new center will help divert more people away from the criminal justice system.

"On any given day, two out of five people inside the Orange County Jail are being treated for mental health issues, and over half have substance abuse issues and many of them are experiencing homelessness and all these social issues that have been going on for years have fallen on the shoulders of law enforcement to address by default."
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The other $2 million in new funding will be spent on a data system that better connects county departments involved in providing mental health services.

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